The concept of a national association of Student Chapters of the AVMA was first proposed to students who attended the 1966 AVMA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. For the next five years veterinary students, under AVMA guidance, examined the need for such an organization. In 1969 the University of California Student Chapter of the AVMA elected a committee to lay the framework for the proposed national student association. In May of that year, the "National Conference of Student Chapters of the AVMA" (NCSCAVMA) came into being. Its key objectives were patterned after those of the parent AVMA: ". . . to advance the science and art of veterinary medicine, including its relationship to agriculture and public health." In 1972 the name of the organization was changed to the Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA), and at the end of the 2013-2014 membership year there were 32 student chapters and 1 student association organization with a total membership of 14,921 students. Veterinary students studying outside of the US where a student chapter does not exist are welcome to become associate members.
The mission of SAVMA is to enhance the veterinary profession, to educate the public, and to promote contact and exchange of ideas between veterinary students, veterinarians and the parent organization, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
The objective of SAVMA shall be to introduce veterinary students to the concept of organized veterinary medicine; to promote, enhance and support professionalism and veterinary medical education; and to encourage the development and empowerment of students as leaders in the profession of veterinary medicine and the community as a whole.
Structurally, the Student AVMA consists of an Executive Board and a House of Delegates (HOD) composed of Senior Delegates and Junior Delegates who are elected or appointed by and represent each member chapter. The House and its members are responsible for guiding and directing the policy and activities of SAVMA in the best interest of the veterinary profession and the public it serves. The House of Delegates meets twice yearly; in July during the AVMA Convention, and in the spring during the annual Student AVMA Symposium. Members of the Executive Board are selected by the House of Delegates. They include the president, president-elect, secretary, secretary-elect, treasurer, treasurer-elect, international exchange officer, international exchange officer-elect information technology officer, information technology officer-elect, veterinary economics officer, veterinary economics officer-elect, Vet Gazette editor, and Vet Gazette editor-elect. Several Student AVMA committees function to benefit Student AVMA members. An Assistant Director of Membership and Field Services is the official Student AVMA advisor.
The formation of a national organization of veterinary students has enabled what were once isolated student chapters to function effectively as a single unit on the national scene. The Student AVMA coordinates student chapter functions, promotes the exchange of ideas and information among students, and represents its members in matters that concern them, both as students and as future veterinarians. SAVMA helps to improve communication between the local student organizations and gives a national voice to student members around the world.
Approved by the HOD, 1954; Revision approved by the HOD, 1969; Revision approved by the Executive Board 1999, 2010.
Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health and welfare, the prevention and relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.